New job! New drafts! New projects!

Everything is NEW this month! Last month was all about panicking as the job hunt continued to be fruitless. Then I happened to walk into a French bakery and café almost two weeks ago. It had such a snug, welcoming atmosphere that I could see myself being a part of. On impulse, I asked if they were hiring. An email and an interview later, I had my first shift less than a week after I set foot in the bakery for the first time.

Now, I have a steady job. The panic has died out. I’m making food and money, and I get to practice my French. If I could stop accidentally echoing my boss’s French accent even after I leave the bakery, that would be great.

But the job isn’t the only thing that’s NEW! Following some feedback from beta readers, the next draft of The Thieves of Traska is in production. There are many little things to change, and then new sections to write, and then the entire division of chapters needs to change. It sounds like an exhausting amount of work, but I am excited.

What’s getting me even more excited is the new first draft of the second installment in the series: The Raiders of VaskegonI started and restarted this one about eight times now. As the story progresses, I find little gaps in Thieves to fill in. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, I’m eager to keep exploring all these new questions I have to answer. It’s why I wanted to have at least a first draft of all three books before the first one is even close to publication.

And finally, the NEW projects. Two of them. One is a Western narrative inspired by an undergraduate project from a few years ago. Depending on how well it goes, it may be a good length to publish as a serial right here on my blog. If not, maybe it just sits on my computer for all eternity.

The second new project: another YA fantasy series. My crazy brain decided shortly after I got the job at the bakery: screw it, we’re writing another series. And this one’s going to have maybe 10 books in it. Why not?

Within a day or two of that thought, I had my premise figured out. I shared a glimpse of the opening on Instagram. The response was positive enough that I decided to continue with it. It still doesn’t have a working title, but that’s okay. At least I finally found a place for a character name I’ve been dying to use for over a year.

So it’s April. Everything is NEW. And, because I now have the song stuck in my head, everything is also awesome.

The Thieves of Traska giveaway, take 2

Earlier this year, I wanted to host a giveaway to celebrate my progress with The Thieves of Traska. It was really exciting to send the fourth draft to some volunteers and see how the story went over. I haven’t received responses from everyone yet, but what I have gotten is wonderfully positive.

Thank you everyone for the feedback you have given me. I know there is still work to be done, but I’m grateful that you not only liked the story, but also had some brilliant ideas on how to make it even better.

But this giveaway isn’t just to celebrate The Thieves of Traska. I’m also celebrating my acceptance into grad school. In a few short years, I’ll have my M.F.A. in writing! I won’t start class until the fall, but it’s crazy to think how fast it will happen.

In addition to the prizes I had already collected earlier this year, I’ve been adding a few more. Here’s a peek at a test I did during the making of some new prizes:The Thieves of Traska giveaway prints

Hurray for printmaking! As much as I love painting, I’m starting to wonder if these types of prints fit the story better.

Anyhow, the giveaway to celebrate all this will happen toward the end of June/beginning of July. In the meantime, I’ll be kicking the dust off my blog and poking awake my sleepy readers. I’ve let The Thieves of Traska simmer on my back burner while I’ve been grinding out the first draft of The Raiders of Vaskegon (which recently hit 31,000 words!), but now it’s time dive into the wonderful feedback I’ve received and get to editing.

For you, readers, this means more excerpts, character profiles, peeks at my notes, glimpses of the comments I’ve received, and more. If you see something you like and want to read more about, let me know!